Shortening of the retention period of employee files and their digitalisation

16.03.2018

1 January 2019 will be effective date of the Act of 10 January 2018 on amendments to some acts in relation to the shortening of the retention period of employee files and their digitalisation (Dz.U. item 357 of 2018).

The major change is the shortening of the 50-year retention time of documentation in employment-related matters and employee personnel files to 10 years. The second important change is the possibility of keeping electronic records.

Shortening of the retention period of employee documentation

The first case of compulsory shortening of the retention period of employee documentation from 50 to 10 years, counting from the end of the calendar year of employment termination, will concern individuals employed from 01.01.2019. Employers of such individuals will send to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) extended monthly name reports of employees and contractors including data necessary to specify the amount of the old-age or disability pension. Such data will be registered on the account of the insured person, due to which in the future employees will not have to prove the history their employment before ZUS and obtain employment and salary certificates from the employer.

The second case provides for optional shortening of the retention period of documentation to 10 years and this situation will concern individuals employed from 01.01.1999 to 31.12.2018. Employers will be able to shorten the retention period, if they declare that they will submit information reports for all such employees and contractors with information necessary to calculate the old-age or disability pension of a specific  employee and will subsequently submit the reports. They do not have to do this, but if they decide to do so, the decision will not be subject to change and will concern all employees. If an employer does not submit such extended name reports, he/she will be obliged to store employee documentation for 50 years.

On the other hand, as regards documentation of individuals employed before 01.01.1999, employers will be obliged to retain it for 50 years.

If retained documentation may constitute or constitutes a piece of evidence in court proceedings, and the employer is a party to such proceedings – then he/she is obliged to store employee documentation by the time of final and binding conclusion of the case, but for a period not shorter than 10 years, counting from the end of the calendar year of employment termination.

If stored employee documentation may constitute or constitutes a piece of evidence in court proceedings, and the employer gets to know about the action brought or proceedings commenced, the 10-year retention period will be prolonged by 12 months after the lapse of which the employer will notify the former employee in writing or electronically about the possibility of collection of such documents within 30 days following receipt of the notice, and if they are not collected, about employee documentation having been destroyed.

It is worth to note that according to the new Act – in the case of re-employment of the same employee during the 10-year retention period of employee documentation, the employer continues keeping previous employee documentation for that employee. The retention period (10 years) will then commence after the end of the calendar year of termination of the last employment relationship between both parties.

In the event of termination or expiry of employment, the employer provides the employee with the following information in hard copy or electronic format along with the employment certificate:

  • retention period of employee documentation
  • possibility of collection of employee documentation by the employee until the end of the calendar month following the lapse of the retention period of employee documentation
  • destruction of employee documentation in case it is not collected within the specified time limit.

The employer destroys employee documentation in a manner preventing its content from being restored, within up to 12 months following the lapse of the period intended for collection of the documents. The employer may give documentation to the former employee by the time it is destroyed.

Keeping and storing employee documentation and personnel files

Another change consists in enabling the employer to keep and store documentation in employment-related matters and personnel files in electronic format.

The employer may change the form of keeping and storing employee documentation.

A change of the form of employee documentation from hard copy to electronic format is made by way of preparation of a digital image, in particular a scan, with the qualified electronic signature or qualified electronic seal of the employer, or the qualified electronic signature of an authorised representative of the employer confirming compliance of the digital image with the hard copy document.

On the other hand, a change of the form of employee documentation from electronic format to hard copy is made by way of preparation of a printout with the signature of the employer or an authorised representative of the employer confirming compliance of the printout with the electronic document.

The employer will inform employees following the usual procedure about:

  • a change of the form of keeping and storing employee documentation,
  • the possibility of collection of the previous form of documentation within 30 days following the receipt of such information.

The employer will inform a former employee, in a hard copy or electronic format, about the possibility of collection of the previous form of documentation within 30 days following the receipt of the notice.

In the case of death of an employee or a former employee, the previous form of documentation may be collected by: their own children, children of their spouse and adopted children, dependent minor: grandchildren, siblings and other children (excluding dependent children as part of a foster family or family-type children’s home), the spouse (widow or widower), parents, including stepmother, stepfather and adoptive parent. 

If documentation is not collected – the employer may destroy the previous form of such documentation.

Documentation kept and stored electronically is equivalent to hard copy documentation.

The employer will provide copies of all or some of the documents at a (written or electronic) request:

  • of the employee or former employee,
  • in the case of death of an employee or a former employee - their own children, children of their spouse or adopted children, dependent minor: grandchildren, siblings and other children (excluding dependent children as part of a foster family or family-type children’s home), the spouse (widow or widower), parents, including stepmother, stepfather and adoptive parent.

Payment of the salary to the bank account

The Act also introduces a change of the manner of salary payment. Non-cash payment will be preferred. As a rule salary will be paid to the bank account indicated by the employee, unless the employee has filed a written or electronic request for personal receipt of the salary.

 

Autor:

Monika Roman
Monika Roman

Director of Personnel Department
Contract Administration

 

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